In an attempt to boost the Indian art market and grow sales for itself, New Delhi based DAG Modern gallery has launched its very own auction arm. The gallery is best known for its contributions towards research in the field of Modern Indian art, and functions more as an art institution and not just an art gallery. The first auction is scheduled to take place on August 21 at The Imperial hotel in Delhi. The entry is by invitation only.
“We find that there is a constant need to keep widening and broadening perception of the Indian art market. This can be done by adding more well-known and senior artists, who have been a part of the Indian art world and are very highly respected, but who (due to lack of promotions) have fallen off the map. These include names like Radha Charan Bagchi, Nikhil Biswas, Shyamal Dutta Ray, Dhanraj Bhagat, SG Thakar Singh and more,” said Kishore Singh, President of DAG Modern and well-known art critic.
Agrees Ashish Anand, Managing Director and CEO of the company. “We believe that introducing these senior and respected master artists to buyers at auctions houses is critical for preserving their legacy,” he said, adding “An auction is a perfect way to let the market evaluate their worth.”
Through its auction business, the gallery aims to provide the transparency and access to these artists. “Though we are already doing that through our exhibitions, but through the auction we will preview them in a large number of cities, other than Delhi or Bombay, such as Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Pune. And while we do so, we would be adding people to the world of art by providing them easier access,” Singh said.
The idea is to reach out to as many people and introduce art at various levels, he added.
The biggest highlight of the auction is the price points. Since the art is owned by the gallery, there is no buyers’ premium. “So automatically you are 25 percent cheaper than any other auction house anywhere, shared Singh, “Also, for our own auctions we drop value from 30 to 40 per cent to bring in more buyers and make it attractive and competitive,” he added.
Should a work not be sold at the auction or comes back to the gallery, it would go back to the original gallery price. This is planned to get people to make most of the bargain. The price points vary from Rs 1 lakh to 1.5 crore. The current auction has 70 lots and 65 artists as compared to most auctions that have 25 to 30 artists and focus only on big names. The works on feature cover a hundred years, from a powerful instance of the Early Bengal style from the nineteenth century, featuring a fierce Kali astride Shiva, to academic practice, to the most cutting edge modernist expression from late twentieth century.
The preview for the auction began yesterday in Delhi and continues through today at the gallery in Hauz Khas. The preview in Bombay has already happened. The registration for the live auction begins at 7 am tomorrow and the auction starts at 8.30 pm. At the moment, DAG is allowing an additional telephonic bidding. Online, says Singh, would be introduced at the next auction in December, where they also plan to take it to many more cities.
Woman at the Window IV by Krishen Khanna